Oregon Museum of Science and Industry got their $150,000 room tax grant from the Newport City Council Monday night to help build their new facilities at South Beach. But OMSI officials remained resistant to the idea of collecting room taxes from those who stay in their overnight facilities. OMSI officials claimed their discovery science programs at South Beach will bring in families from all over Oregon who will, in their off-time, eat in local restaurants, visit local stores, theaters, explore the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Bayfront.
But City Councilor David Allen pushed the room tax issue a little harder saying that in addition to having visiting families staying in their overnight facilities, they’re also opening up their convention and meeting room facilities for conferences, weddings and other gatherings – a rather fully functional tourist related facility.
OMSI officials said that although their facilities are definitely tourist related, they should not have to charge their families and professional groups a room tax. They added that other organizations offer similar educational out-of-town journeys for families and individuals which are already very competitively priced and so in the end could harm OMSI’s bottom line on their facility.
Councilor Allen said the council should explore the issue with their city attorney to develop an appropriate determination whether OMSI should collect hotel/motel room taxes as all other tourist related facilities having overnight accommodations are required to charge in Newport.